Why We Need A New Generation of Mentors

friendships mentoring encouragement Aug 08, 2023

By Leslie Bennett 

The moment Mary learned from the angel Gabriel that she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit’s power, surely her mind raced around the first-century world and back with a million questions and fears. Her life would never be the same. She worried how Joseph would react. She dreaded when people would realize she was pregnant before marriage. Most perplexing of all, she wondered how the baby inside her womb could be the Son of God who would one day rule over a never-ending kingdom. 

As soon as Gabriel delivered this jaw-dropping news, Mary quickly left Nazareth to visit her older cousin Elizabeth. Although an expectant mother for the first time herself, with questions of her own, Elizabeth inspired courage and faith in her teenage relative when she said, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” (Luke 1:45).

Thousands of years later, women have the same needs. They long for a mature woman to walk alongside them—one who is willing to speak the truth, to pray, to weep when they weep, and to rejoice when they rejoice. 

In the church today, who will . . . 

Put an arm around the single mother and love her children? 
Notice the missing woman living in self-imposed isolation? 
See the teen who is questioning whether God is real? 
Pray with the empty-nester who is lacking direction and purpose? 
Cry with a grief-stricken widow? 
Teach the new Christian how to be a godly woman?

Without a mentor, a young woman may be likely to Google her questions about what it means to honor God in her singleness or how to be a Proverbs 31 wife. She can access social media to find sources for learning to pray and read the Bible. While those resources may be helpful, they can only go so far. Even worse, the wrong resources can dangerously mislead. 

So why aren’t more women willing to step up to meet this need? 

Some are too busy with their own lives. Some fill up on Bible studies and podcasts while never finding time to pour into someone else. Others prefer to invest in a public platform instead of a quiet ministry that doesn’t get likes and shares. Some feel inadequate and believe they are disqualified by their past failures. Some don’t know how to get started or don’t understand that mentoring is a gospel-adorning lifestyle (Titus 2:3–5). I admit I’ve also been guilty of not prioritizing mentoring, but I believe this error can be corrected. It must be corrected “so that God’s word will not be slandered” (Titus 2:5).

5 Reasons Why We Need a New Generation of Mentors

1. Women are settling for survival instead of revival.

Ask a woman how she’s doing and you’ll often hear, “I’m surviving!” Survival has become the baseline for many people who are bent over from the weight of living in a fallen, sinful world. Survival mode leads to a pattern of coasting in the here and now while we wait for better days to come. How do we reconcile our survival mentality to the joy-filled Christians in the Bible who thrived despite suffering, opposition, and brokenness? There is something more than survival. It’s revival.

Revival comes from a fresh view of God’s glory, being humbled and broken in His presence, repentant, and infused with His love and power. Revival is walking in victory and on mission with God. It’s the life we were made for—no longer living for self but for Jesus. A mentor can show a woman how to move from survival to revival. 

2. Women are hungry for truth.

Women have been served a smorgasbord of lies by our culture. The promises of happiness and fulfillment evaporated long ago leaving us anxious and hopeless. Now what? The answer to what truly satisfies is found in a loving relationship with Jesus. It’s knowing the One who created us and being known by Him. It’s finding our true identity and purpose in His beautiful design for men and women. A mentor can help women sift through the confusion to discern truth from lies.

3. Women are isolated and lonely. 

The world is hardwiring us to believe we’re connected when we pick up our devices. Nancy Lindgren, author of Mentoring Made Real, says our culture is afflicted with “relational poverty.” Social media is robbing us of deep, meaningful relationships. The core of life is not meant to be experienced through taps and clicks on a keypad but through the body of the local church.

A mentor invites a younger friend to shed the graveclothes of isolation for a gospel-adorning relationship that is centered on Christ. A mentor can become the real-life hands and feet of Jesus that prove His promise is true: we are never alone. 

4. Women are spiritual orphans. 

Many believers didn’t grow up in a Christian family with a mother or grandmother or aunt who modeled God’s awe-inspiring plan for womanhood. Her understanding of what it means to be a godly woman is entangled with the messages she’s been taught about independence, staying true to herself, being her best self, demanding her rights, and establishing her own truth. 

What can be done about this? My friend Jenny is a biblical counselor who asserts that seventy percent of all the women who seek her counsel really just need a mentor. Spiritual mothers can adopt these orphans to help them unravel their wrong thinking and replace it with right thinking. They can love and nurture them like a tiny bud before it bursts into full bloom. Spiritual mamas can pray with and for their daughters in the Lord and ask probing questions that root out wrong beliefs. 

5. Women need real relationships.

In past generations, the mentoring model looked more like a classroom teacher relating to a student. In my friendships with younger women, I can attest to the fact that I learn as much from them as they learn from me. We pray and seek the Lord together to find His unchanging truth that gives clarity and wisdom to situations and relationships. Young women want a mentor who is real about her mistakes but doesn’t make her personal story the focal point. A mentor is a woman who shows a younger woman Jesus and makes her thirst for more of His presence and power in her life.

The Multiplying Effect of Mentoring

My friends Tiphany and Mindi describe their mentoring friendship as a gift. Tiphany is an empty nester who owns her own business. Mindi is an author and homeschool mom of four daughters. Both have limited time but they need each other. Their relationship works because it’s flexible, not rigid. They established clear expectations in the beginning and committed to being honest with each other. 

During a women’s conference on mentoring at our church, Tiphany and Mindi shared about their relationship. I spoke on what it means to be a purposeful woman who glorifies God through her feminine design. Sitting in the audience was a precious middle school girl named “Amber.” You couldn’t miss her big, beautiful smile and shiny silver braces. This sweet young teen had been drawn into a romantic relationship with another girl. At the conference, she began to question whether this was something she should be doing. She wondered what God thought about it. She guessed that He was mad at her. 

Tiphany sensed God was working in Amber’s heart so she asked if she wanted to talk privately during the conference. They pulled away and Amber opened up. Tiphany listened, asked questions, shared truth, prayed, and expressed her love. At the end of the conference, women were given an opportunity to pray with one of our prayer warriors. Amber boldly walked forward. Mindi was ready to embrace her when she did. 

Within the next month, Amber ended her same-sex relationship, and her parents enrolled her in a Christian school. Tiphany and Mindi are still part of her life. Mindi brings Amber to the women’s prayer time on Sunday mornings when we intercede for our church and for God to move in revival. This same group of mature women was faithful to battle in prayer for Amber’s intense spiritual struggle. Jesus won! Amber is following Him. Recently she prayed aloud for the first time!

These are the kind of stories I hope will multiply throughout churches as God raises up a new generation of mentors. When gospel-empowered friendships like Tiphany, Mindi, and Amber’s accelerate, a compounding effect occurs. The culture of the church is transformed, and the Bride of Christ will thrive as she is designed to: a flawed yet flourishing family of believers.

 

Leslie Bennett has led Women’s Ministry in two local churches, and serves on the Revive Our Hearts ministry team. She connects with women’s leaders around the world in the Revive Our Hearts Leader Facebook Group and as host of online training events. A teacher at heart, she is devoted to training and discipling the next generation to treasure Christ above all. Leslie and her husband Mac live in S.C. where she loves spending time with family, and admiring Lowcountry sunsets.

 

This article originally appeared at ReviveOurHearts.com. Used with permission.

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